Heart failure impacts the lives of more than 5 million Americans. Many people who have the disease experience various challenges managing it, which increases their likelihood of experiencing a health crisis and potential hospitalization.
On February 3, FirstHealth of the Carolinas will open the FirstHealth Heart Failure Clinic located in the Reid Heart Center in Pinehurst that will focus on helping heart failure patients manage this complex disease.
Dina Welch, FNP
Heart failure means that the heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be. Your body depends on the heart’s pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally. With heart failure, the weakened heart can’t supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue, shortness of breath, and some people experience coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
“Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually there’s no cure,” said Dinah Welch, family nurse practitioner with FirstHealth Cardiology who will direct the new clinic. “However, many people with heart failure can lead a full, enjoyable life through a healthy lifestyle and proper management of the condition.”
Once a patient is referred to the heart failure clinic, they will undergo an extensive evaluation by a team of experts in the management of heart failure and receive appropriate therapeutic options and educational needs that will help them better understand and actively manage their heart failure.
Heart failure is the primary diagnosis in more than 1 million hospitalizations annually in the United States, and patients hospitalized for heart failure are at high risk for rehospitalization.
“Our primary goals are to minimize rehospitalization, reduce mortality and improve the quality of life for patients with heart failure,” adds Welch. “Studies have shown that heart failure clinics providing specialized care using a multidisciplinary team of experts are successful in reducing mortality and rehospitalizations.”
Welch will care for heart failure patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings to perform comprehensive examinations, adjust medications and provide counseling as needed to help patients become active participants in managing their heart failure.
According to Welch, heart failure is a chronic illness and requires input from the patient regarding goals of care. “Building relationships with my patients to achieve their goals is critical to managing heart failure.”
Welch attended the University of Florida where she received master’s degrees in family nurse practitioner and public health and a Ph.D., in nursing. Most of her career has been in caring for cardiac patients.
“I feel called and very privileged to care for this patient population,” Welch added. “Helping patients and their families through the process of understanding their illness and making informed decisions and working together to improve a patient’s quality of life is extremely fulfilling.”
To learn more about the FirstHealth Heart Failure clinic at Reid Heart Center, call (910) 715-8691.